Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News
Jamie Skinner of Layton has a basement room used to store clothes and toys for needy kids from South Clearfield Elementary.

LAYTON — The spirit of Christmas giving thrives year-round in the James W. and Jamie Skinner home.

Jamie Skinner has organized an unofficial sub-for-Santa event for the third year to benefit pupils at South Clearfield Elementary School.

Last year she provided dozens of needy children with a coat, boots, shoes, other clothing and a toy. This year 69 children will benefit from her efforts.

"I don't do it alone," she stressed. "Everyone wants to help. They just want to be told how."

She has enlisted the help of her northeast Layton neighborhood — the Deer Valley subdivision — some family and friends to donate clothing, other items and money. In all, about 50 people help.

Her sister, Emily, is a teacher at South Clearfield Elementary and she gets the teachers to provide a list of needy children.

"We do the whole family," Jamie said. "All kids in the family get something." That includes other children who may attend North Layton Junior, Clearfield High or Northridge High.

After seeing the need in the South Clearfield area, which has many low-income residents and single parents, she started the effort in 2005 with 23 families.

"I love to shop sales," she said. That means she is looking year-round for clearance clothing — especially winter items in the spring. A coat might be $6 on clearance and jeans just $3. "We just buy whenever we can."

Jamie's extended family has also decided to not exchange adults' gifts, in favor of putting the money into more needy children's clothing and gifts. Her husband built her a room in the basement to store all the clothing and other items.

Whatever's not in that storage room comes from the purchases or money of others.

"It's just a matter of matching them up (with the children)," she said. Some items might be stored for another year and it's a guessing game on how many girls versus boys will be helped each year.

All the children are invited to a party at the school each December — this year's was Friday — then, the items are given to parents to give to their children.

Anyone interesting in donating can contact her at jamiebskinner@hotmail.com.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com